Fatty acid profiles of the European migratory common noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula)
In animals, fatty acids (FA) are essential as structural components in membranes and for energy storage in adipocytes. Here, we studied the relative proportions of FA in a mammal with extreme changes in metabolic rates. Common noctule bats (Nyctalus noctula) switch from energetically demanding long-distance migration at high metabolic rates to regular torpor with extremely low metabolic rates. We found that composition of FA categories differed between adipose tissue types (white adipose tissue (WAT) vs brown adipose tissue (BAT)) and muscle tissue types (skeletal vs heart), but not between sexes. We found oleic acid to be the most abundant FA in all studied tissues. Concentrations of polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) were not always higher in muscular tissue compared with adipocyte tissue, even though high concentrations of PUFA are considered beneficial for low body temperatures in torpor. In all tissues, we observed a high content in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), possibly to compensate for a low PUFA content in the diet. Ratios of ω6/ω3 were lower in the heart than in skeletal muscles of common noctules. Three FA (palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acid) accounted for about 70% of the FA in adipose tissue, which is similar to proportions observed in migrating birds, yet migrating birds generally have a higher PUFA content in muscle and adipose tissues than bats. Bats seem to contrast with other mammals in having a high MUFA content in all tissues. We conclude that FA profiles of bats differ largely from those of most cursorial mammals and instead are—with the exception of MUFA—similar to those of migrating birds.
KeywordsChiroptera Exercise Torpor Migration Adipose tissue
We thank Doris Fichte, Anja Luckner, Karin Sörgel, Tobias Dürr, Gudrun Wibbelt, Raymond Thomas, and Morag Dick for the help during specific stages of the project. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.
This project was supported by a travel grant from the DAAD, a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research Fund.
- Currie SE, Fasel NJ, Mène-Saffrané L (2019) Valuable carcasses: postmortem preservation of fatty acid composition in heart tissue. Conserv Physiol 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coz005
- Gloor S, Stutz H-PB, Ziswiler V (1995) Nutritional habits of the noctule bat Nyctalus noctula (Schreber, 1774) in Switzerland. Myotis 32(33):231–242Google Scholar
- Jones G (1995) Flight performance, echolocation and foraging behaviour in noctule bats Nyctalus noctula. J Zool 237(2):303–312. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1995.tb02764.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Klaiman JM, Price ER, Guglielmo CG (2009) Fatty acid composition of pectoralis muscle membrane, intramuscular fat stores and adipose tissue of migrant and wintering white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis). J Exp Biol 212(23):3865–3872. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.034967 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kolb A (1958) Nahrung und Nahrungsaufnahme bei Fledermäusen. Z Säugetierk 23:84–95Google Scholar
- Lehnert LS, Kramer-Schadt S, Teige T, Hoffmeister U, Popa-Lisseanu A, Bontadina F, Ciechanowski M, Dechmann DKN, Kravchenko K, Presetnik P, Starrach M, Straube M, Zoephel U, Voigt CC (2018) Variability and repeatability of noctule bat migration in Central Europe: evidence for partial and differential migration. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 285(1893):20182174. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.2174 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Neuweiler G (2000) The biology of bats. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Friendly M, Kindt R, Legendre P, McGlinn D, Minchin P, O’Hara R, Simpson G, Solymos P, Stevens M, Szoecs E, Wagner H (2013) Vegan: community ecology package R package version 254Google Scholar
- Poulton EB (1929) British insectivorous bats and their prey. Proc Zool Soc London 99(2):277–303. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1929.tb07743.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Price ER, Guglielmo CG (2009) The effect of muscle phospholipid fatty acid composition on exercise performance: a direct test in the migratory white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). Am J Phys Regul Integr Comp Phys 297(3):R775–R782. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00150.2009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wells HJ, Makita M, Wells WW, Krutzsch PH (1965) A comparison of the lipid composition of brown adipose tissue from male and female bats (Myotis lucifugus) during hibernating and non-hibernating seasons. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Lipids and Lipid Metabolism 98(2):269–277. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-2760(65)90120-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar